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Introducing Happy Tummies – Simple Nutrition They’ll Love!
I am new to Indianapolis and a stay at home mom to a toddler-aged daughter. Nutrition has always been something I have been passionate about. After the birth of my daughter, and due to my husband having chronic food allergies, I became even more interested in learning how to cook for her from the moment she started solids. In a society that pushes (and hides) sugar and is full of so many food allergies, I find it a personal goal to educate myself as much as I can to provide my family with foods that benefit their health and well being - all while having fun in the kitchen! I hope you enjoy this blog and are inspired to cook more at home.
Kids in the Kitchen

Kids in the Kitchen

Jessica Pflumm | March 07, 2014 | 07:33 PM

The statistics are staggering -- and not in a flattering way. With research and our federal health organizations reporting our childhood obesity rates, the food we are feeding our kids has hit an all time high on search engines, talk shows, blogs and the nightly news.

I decided early on to educate myself and my family on how we can beat this epidemic and spread the word to others on how to do the same. It seems daunting, but the reality is, it is not. It is common sense with a twist of planning. There is also realistic vs. crazed and we have chosen the realistic route.

We found that including our daughter (from the time she could stand on a step stool) in all things cooking has made her very interested in food, what it does to/for you and more apt to try different foods. Now I know some kids are born picky eaters, and we are blessed that we did not come up against that, but I do believe there are ways to change even the pickiest of eaters.

Some easy starters on incorporating more fruits and veggies into your child's meals:

• Smoothies – these delicious breakfast, lunch or snack shakes come in all flavors and sizes. I highly recommend a high powered blender, or a Magic Bullet. These simple and effective kitchen utensils can save you so much time and hassle. Blend a daily serving of your fruits of veggies in one shake. Bring in good fats (avocado, nuts or coconut to name a few) and some flax oil and you are starting your day (or adding to your day) with a super charged healthy kick…not to mention energy and basically no clean up. It is important to note that healthy smoothies are never ice cream, frozen yogurt or sherbet based.

• Dips – I am not talking your sour cream based dips…but ones such as bean dips, hummus, or guacamole. All of these can easily be made at home (again with blender or Magic Bullet) and are perfect for chopped veggies, whole grain crackers, pita wedges or even spread on a sandwich instead of mayo/mustard.

• Quesadillas – These are masterful for any age. Don't stop with cheese. Add in beans, cooked sweet potatoes, spinach, chicken or all of the above. Use whole wheat or multi grain tortillas and you have a filling and healthy lunch or dinner option (or sub in eggs and use it as breakfast).

• Juice – we do have a juicer. Yes, they can be expensive, but if you are serious about wanting to get in your veggies, these are the superstar of simplicity. If you have a picky toddler that won't eat veggies, juice them and you are entering a whole new ballgame. Our favorite is spinach, carrot, apple, ginger and lemon. One serving will give most children an entire day's worth full of veggies.

If your kids haven't been helping up until this point, it isn't too late to start. It is fun to have kids putting veggies in the juicer, build their quesadilla, pour dip ingredients in or fruit for the smoothie. Don't be afraid to try new combinations, you never know when you might stumble upon a new family favorite.

Jessica Pflumm is a nutrition advocate and family meal planning guru. For additional recipes, please visit her blog at happytummieskc@wordpress.com.

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